An article in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) titled “As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction” has the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) up in arms over “stretching the word ‘medical’” in their conclusions about the role of complementary medicine in treating chronic pain conditions.
ACSH emphasizes their opinion in a response published on their website entitled, “JAMA: Journal Of Alternative Medicine Atrocities.”
From the ACSH article by Julianna LeMieux:
The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) is really stretching the word “medical” with some of their latest content.
A recent article, “As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Complementary Health Approaches to Pain Gain Traction” written by Jennifer Abbasi, highlights the role of complementary medicine in pain management, while focusing on which techniques may be more useful for particular ailments. Ms. Abbasi summarized and highlighted the findings of a large study published in September in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings that analyzed the use of complementary medicine for recurring pain that may become chronic or debilitating.
But, when you dig a bit deeper, the conclusion of the article is a stretch, at best.
The original study was done by a group of five people at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. The authors have many varying degrees from distinct backgrounds ranging from a cardiologist to a naturopath. From a chiropractor to a PhD in neuroscience. The findings of the article were covered in depth by Dr. Kedist Tedla of ACSH in September, after the study was first published.
To summarize, the article looked at complementary health approaches to pain management, focusing on acupuncture, manipulation, massage therapy, relaxation techniques including meditation, selected natural product supplements, tai chi and yoga. It analyzed trials of these approaches by giving each a mark of “positive” meaning the technique was helpful or “negative” – not helpful. And, if there were more positive result than negative – the technique was deemed useful overall.
From this ridiculous rubric, they report the following to be helpful: acupuncture for back pain and osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee; massage therapy for neck and back pain; osteopathic manipulation for back pain; relaxation for headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia; spinal manipulation for back pain; Tai chai for osteoarthritis of the knee and fibromyalgia; and yoga for back pain.
Read the rest of the article here, and after you do, give us your opinion on the JAMA article and the ACSH’s response.